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Bright Futures Not as Bright

March 19th, 2009 by flanews

Higher college tuition rates are one step closer to reality. A legislative committee has given state universities authority to raise tuition 15 percent a year. As Whitney ray tells us, if you are counting on Florida prepaid or Bright Futures to cover the cost, think again.

Budget cuts are forcing state universities to drop classes and cut staff. Lawmakers are targeting students to stop the brain drain. A plan to allow universities to raise tuition 15 percent a year is gaining momentum in Tallahassee.

We are one of the lowest in tuition and its not that we want our students to pay more because we feel like theyre not paying their fair share, its just that the money has to come from somewhere, said bill sponsor Will Weatherford.

Some fear the increase would make college too expensive for lower income students. Bright Futures wouldnt cover the tuition increase. Families with a Florida Prepaid Plan would have to buy extra coverage to make up the difference. Prepaid Tuition Founder Stanley Tate calls the tuition hike outrageous,

Its just outrageous and lower income people just wont be able to afford it, said Tate.

Student body leaders say the increase is needed because the quality of their education is suffering.

Its getting to the point where it is difficult not just to get the classes that you want, but to get the classes that you need to graduate on time, said Chris Krampert with the Florida Students Association.

Opponents plan to buy newspaper and magazine ads to rally support. Lawmakers say theyll work with prepaid board members to create new tuition investment options.

Prepaid Founder Stanley Tate says if lawmakers give universities the authority to raise tuition, the price of a prepaid plan would double by 2012.

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